Trees everywhere are dying. Combine the pests that are killing California oaks with the prolonged drought and other problems, and trees are in trouble. I did an informal poll of some neighbors and friends and was surprised that most felt that except for an occasional pruning, their large trees didn’t need care of any type–including water. But trees do need our help. No wonder there is a campaign called “Save our Water and our Trees” with websites such as saveourwater.com, canopy.org and californiareleaf.org providing helpful tips on not only helping your trees thrive but why they are so important to protect.
Trees are crucial to our eco system. Treepeople.org lists 22 benefits of trees. Acting as giant filters, they clean the air and reduce excess carbon dioxide. According to the website, a large tree can provide oxygen for 18 people. Trees also provide shade, which reduces temperatures and gives plants and animals places to thrive. That shade cools outdoor spaces like roads, parks and your garden. Trees also prevent soil erosion and help recharge groundwater by slowing runoff from storms.
Some say if we don’t have enough water, then the tree shouldn’t get any either. Under pressure to reduce water usage, some businesses, municipalities and homeowners have shut off water to their trees. This could have long-lasting negative consequences.
What can you do? Well for starters, how are your trees doing? What else can you ration to give your trees a drink (mature trees need a soaking once or twice a month, with young trees requiring much more)? Do you have enough mulch down to capture the moisture from the rain we do get? Plant drought-tolerant trees, especially if you have cut down some. Check the websites above for advice.
Has your local community or city let the trees go? You can attend a city council meeting and let them know they need to find a way to take care of the trees. In Fallbrook where I live, we have lost many trees. I was shocked at the local water board meeting to find out that we only use around 50% of the water we are recycling. The rest just gets sent into the Pacific Ocean. Sometimes they just need some good ideas and a good swift kick (and to know you are not going away). Let’s fill up the large local water tankers and water the trees. Of course, some recycled water may not be ideal for certain trees–but to give the trees a boost, it’s better than continued death by drought. So get out there and get creative and share your ideas!